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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Organ donation opt-out deadline approaching

Donna had a congenital heart condition but sadly passed away in 2010 awaiting her third heart transplant
* Az and Donna Mansell
The consultation deadline on the Welsh Government’s draft organ donation legislation is fast approaching.
The Welsh Government is asking members of the public and health professionals alike to make their views known on the proposed soft opt-out legislation before the closing date of Monday September 10th 2012.
Last year 67 people donated their organs in Wales. The Welsh Government wants to save more lives by increasing this number. Each donor provides on average three organs making a massive difference to the lives of the recipients.
Few families have discussed this emotive subject matter or indeed know the donation wishes of each family member. This is undoubtedly an awkward conversation for many, but a very important one in the context of personal choice and its impact on donation.
One person who has faced this situation is Az Mansell. He is determined to shake up what he sees as a general public apathy towards organ donation. He is a man who can talk from experience. He hadn’t put his own name on the NHS organ donor register, even though he agreed with the principle, until he met his wife to be, Donna. After hearing of her serious health problems he signed up there and then in the pub by phone.
Donna had a congenital heart condition but sadly passed away in 2010 awaiting her third heart transplant. Her body had rejected two previous transplants. Donna was an incredibly bubbly and positive person who lived every day to the full who would help and counsel people who were going through similar experiences whilst going through rough times herself. She campaigned for organ donation constantly and was a fantastic mother and wife. Following her death, a number of family and friends took a positive decision to sign up to the organ donor register.
Az explains:
“It’s quite staggering how many people have gone through transplant procedures, some more successful than others but in general recipients are thankful for the second lease of life which they have been given and it is fantastic to see. I recently scaled Snowdon with my friend Rhys, a heart transplant success story, and I had trouble keeping pace with him!
“I support the Welsh Government’s proposed soft opt-out legislation as I believe such steps are crucial if we are to improve life chances for more people, like Donna, awaiting an organ transplant.
“Not everyone agrees with the proposed changes I know – some members of my family included – but much of this is based on a lack of accurate information although I respect their personal choice.
“Some say their choices and rights will be limited by this law but in fact it’s the complete opposite. People will be able to clearly choose to donate or not to donate and for Wales to be the first home nation to introduce such a legislation is a great thing.”
The proposed legislation will be accompanied by an extensive public information campaign so that individuals understand the legislation and know how to make their wishes known through a single organ and tissue donation register for Wales. However, letting family members know is as important so they are clear about a potential donor’s wishes at a time of great emotion and stress. As part of the proposed new legislation, if anyone has not made their wishes expressly known via the register they will be deemed to have consented to their organs and tissues being available for transplant.
Anybody wishing to submit a response to the consultation should do so before 10 September 2012

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